TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Leman Academy of Excellence said they've remained committed to offering fully in-person learning during the pandemic, but this week their campus in Marana was quiet. Only a few cars were parked outside and a message on their front sign explained why. It read: "Remote Learning February 1-12".
The decision was explained to parents in a letter. Staff announced there was an outbreak of COVID-19 on campus.
"This is the first time we've seen an outbreak at this specific campus. To date, we've seen 57 total outbreaks in all schools in Pima County since August," said Pima County Health Department COVID-19 Schools Liaison, Brian Eller.
Eller said an outbreak is defined as two or more epidemiologically linked cases.
"That means that it's not between a brother or a sister. It's not between friends who got together over the weekend. There's a clear established connection of transmission at the school site," said Eller.
Leman Academy in Marana has reported 37 cases of COVID-19 to the Pima County Health Department since August. Eller said he and his staff have been working with the school and have guided them through the proper steps to take.
"Most of the time, we establish where that outbreak transmission occurred and ensure that any close contacts are following quarantine and isolation protocols and guidance," said Eller.
Staff at Leman Academy said they have followed the health department's guidance and taken their own precautions, too.
Head of Schools, Dennis M. O'Reilly, released the following statement to KGUN about their preparation for return to in-person learning:
"Leman Academy has since done a deep cleaning and sanitizing of each of the classrooms, playground equipment, cafeterias, etc...throughout the campus. We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our scholars at all of our Leman campuses. In the big picture, our faculty, staff and site leadership have done a remarkable and courageous job this school year, being one of the few schools to open and have in-person learning 5 days per week. I hope you recognize our group of teachers and staff for their commitment to being professional educators who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in serving their scholars and families through a rather challenging time with the ever present pandemic. I certainly consider our faculty and staff as Heroes."
"We are seeing emerging local and national data that is showing that schools are a safe place for kids to be, as long as mitigation is followed," said Eller.
Leman Academy in Marana said they plan to resume in-person classes on Monday, February 15, 2021.